Big bucks | Arkansas Blog

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Big bucks

Posted By on Sat, Jun 6, 2009 at 10:53 AM

Some eyebrows have been raised about the $324,000 pay deal for the new state lottery director, Ernie Passailaigue of Charleston, S.C. The deal was telegraphed, we can now see, by Commission Chairman Ray Thornton's comment Thursday that the state would have to pay at the higher end of the authorized range to get an experienced hand.

With the clarity of hindsight, I now also see House Speaker Robbie Wills was telegraphing the coming choice and pay, too, with his blog post Friday morning. (Oh, no. I'm sure he and other top legislators had NO idea what was coming down yesterday afternoon.)

Folks, it’s a trade-off.  A candidate with less experience running a lottery will command a lower salary.  One with more experience running a lottery will command a higher salary.  It’s up to the Commission to select the right person and to negotiate compensation, but any Director’s salary over and above the $141,000 line-item in the lottery law will have to be approved by the Lottery Oversight Committee.  The salary can’t be higher than $354,000. 

I’m afraid some of the same folks who’ve been advocating for more experience will be the first to criticize the Commission if they decide to pay more to get it.  We’ll see.    


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